Japan Consumer Prices Unexpectedly Rise 0.1% on Year Earlier

Japan’s consumer prices unexpectedly rose in February, a gain that may not be enough to ease pressure on the central bank for bolder action to end deflation.

Consumer prices excluding fresh foods climbed 0.1 percent from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Tokyo. The median estimate was for a 0.1 percent decline, in a Bloomberg News survey of 29 economists.

Some members of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan say they’re opposing the nomination of BNP Paribas SA economist Ryutaro Kono to the Bank of Japan (8301)’s policy board because they doubt his commitment to ending deflation. Governor Masaaki Shirakawa’s officials may need to enlarge a 30 trillion yen ($364 billion) asset-purchase fund, according to economists including Kyohei Morita.

“The bar is high for ending entrenched deflation,’’ Morita, chief economist at Barclays Capital in Tokyo, said before the report was released. ’’The BOJ is likely to introduce more easing measures this year.’’

The gain in prices was the first in five months. January’s decline was 0.1 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Toru Fujioka in Tokyo at tfujioka1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Panckhurst at ppanckhurst@bloomberg.net

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